I’m doing my Rogue One blog in two parts, mostly because I’m curious to see how my impressions compare before and after what is a significant media event thirty-nine (yes, 39) years in the making. That’s three quarters of my existence, and I’ve had a vested interested in the franchise since I was a wee lad. I’m a science fiction author of a specific age, which means Star Wars was one of the most influential films in the development of my career path.
I’ve been cautiously optimistic about Rogue One since the beginning, but underline cautiously in that statement.
Let me begin by saying I’ve enjoyed all of the Star Wars films to varying degrees and invariably for different reasons… and yes, that includes Episodes I – III. Let me also say that I believe Episode VII to be the most lack-luster and “Hollywood-corporatized” of the bunch, and that includes factoring in the children’s-merchandising-engendered Ewoks.
I never watched Lost, but I can honestly say that I have detested everything J.J. Abrams ever touched except for HBO’s latest success Westworld, where he serves as one of the Executive Producers. Frankly, from what I’ve seen, I suspect he has not been directly involved in that creative process, but that’s my bias based upon what he did to Start Trek and Star Wars. Let’s just say I’m not a fan of what he does to other people’s IPs, and I was ecstatic to learn that he wasn’t involved in Rogue One.
A healthy portion of my caution also stemed from the fact that Disney is now the sole proprietor of the Star Wars franchise, and they are driven by children’s merchandising like Popes are driven to big hats. So, in my head there was this looming specter that Disney might, somehow, go the Ewoks route rather than the Mos Eisley cantina route when it came to the new installment. However, those concerns were tempered by what Marvel has done with their IPs.
And then the Rogue One trailers started hitting YouTube.
There’s a quote from the trailers that encapsulates my feelings on the then-and-now comparison of the Star Wars franchise; how it evolved from inspiring a generation with dreams of fighting a Galactic Empire to the mealy, corporate-tool pandering Hollywood dreams of sterile avarice.
“Rebellions are built on hope.”
In five hours I will be sitting down and immersing myself in a new installment of modern literature that has significantly shaped my life and will continue to do so till the day I die. I go into this endeavor with high hopes that somewhere, somehow, those involved in Rogue One share both my love of Star Wars and my loathing for some of what has been done to it by suits and tools who never really shared the dream.
The trailers gave me hope, the reviews heightened them, and from what I’ve seen from my friends’ reports on it, I believe I’m in for one hell of a ride.
So, here’s to hope. Here’s to fighting empires. Here’s to fighting for dreams and against how Hollywood all-too-frequently seems intent in perverting those dreams so that a few can feed their greed.
Here’s to the Rebellion. I’ll see you on the other side.